Starring: Hitomi Kuroki, Junichi Okada, Jun Matsumoto, Hiroyuki Miyasako
Director: Takahashi Minamoto
Studio: KD Media
About This DVD
Love is in the air -- or rather in the multiplex. Not that it's ever been away, but love stories are trendy now, following the monster success last year of Isao Yukisada's romantic drama "Sekai no Chushin de Ai o Sakebu (Crying Out Love in the Center of the World)," better known simply as "Sekachu," and "Winter Sonata," the weepy TV series that spawned the current craze for all things Korean.
Takashi Minamoto's "Tokyo Tower" is trying for a demographic twofer: the women-of-a-certain-age who sighed over dreamy "Winter Sonata" star Bae Yong Joon and the under-25's who wept over "Sekachu's" tale of tragic teenage love.
Based on a novel by Kaori Ekuni about two 30-plus women who take younger lovers, "Tokyo Tower" is wish fulfillment raised to the nth-power. The elder of the two, Shifumi (Hitomi Kuroki), dines only in the fanciest restaurants, wears only the most fashionable designer clothes and never looks less than fabulous, though she never darkens the door of a gym or an "esthetic" salon. Her husband, a worldly, sophisticated "CM planner" (Goro Kishitani), never bats an eye at her extravagances. True, she runs an upscale jewelry shop in Aoyama, but it seems to be more of a hobby than a serious revenue generator.
These two meet in a parking garage where pouty-lipped Koji is working as a security guard, his beautifully layered hair spilling out from under his cap. At her request, he parks her car, maneuvering it with almost contemptuous ease into a tight spot -- a symbol of how he deals with women. He also quickly susses that she is unhappy and what she wants him to do about it. They start meeting on her breaks from her housewifely duties. She offers him money, which he admirably refuses. He not-so-admirably neglects to tell her about his girlfriend, Yuri (Rosa Kato). He does tell Toru about Kimiko, but Toru doesn't approve; he's for May-September love, against two-timing.
The drama begins, as it often does in affairs, with unpleasant revelations and unexpected arrivals. Romance threatens to descend into farce as expensive champagne is poured over an expensive dress, as a lover gets the boot from an angry husband.
Toru is the most sociologically interesting character. He's a boy who plays the traditional girl's pining and sighing role, while stoutly resisting the usual label for his sort: gigolo. Okada, a singer with the boy band V6 and star of last year's hit comedy "Kisarazu Cat's Eye," plays Toru on high burn, with welcome flashes of grit.
The strongest performance, though, is that of Terashima, winner of the Japan Academy's Best Actress award last year for her work in "Vibrator" and "Akame Shijuha-taki Shinju Misui." As Kimiko, she is always either on the edge or actually exploding from frustration and rage, but she wants no pity, from either her partner or the audience. Instead she has a fierce, if shaky, dignity, best expressed in a flamenco number performed on stage, before a packed house.
|Audio Format:||DD 5.1 Surround, DD 2.0 Stereo|
|Video Format:||Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)|
|Special Features:||- Audio commentary
- TV spot(s)
|Availability:||Usually ships in 5-10 days|